How I Became A Writer
Moments before I got The Call.
I’ve spent a lot of time on other authors’ websites. I’ve read their blogs and their bios and I’ve noticed that many have one thing in common—they always knew they wanted to be a writer.
I did not.
Growing up, writing came easily to me. I scored highly on five-paragraph
essays in high school, I became an editor for our high school newspaper,
and when I got to college I purposely chose courses based entirely
on essay exams. I became a journalism major thinking it was a practical
way to apply my skills to an appealing career.
Then an interesting thing happened—I didn’t like being a reporter.
At first I thought that I simply didn’t like what I was writing
about (hotels and real estate), then I began to think that writing
was something I was “good at” and not something that I was supposed
I must thank my parents for always insisting I find a job that I love. My father, a reluctant accountant, encouraged me to follow my passion and let the money follow. I didn’t love being a reporter. In fact, I felt certain that there was “something” I was supposed to be doing with my life only I had yet to figure it out.
But journalism was all I knew. I had five unpaid internships while
at BU, I graduated from the College of Communication, and I had
an entire resume filled with reporting experience. I needed a push
to leave the industry. And I got one.
9/11 happened. I lived five blocks from Ground Zero.
The last photo I took that shows the Towers-
approximately one week before they collapsed.
For the first time, I took a hard look at my life and realized that I wanted to do something more “important.” So I quit my job, moved back to Philadelphia with my now husband, Jordan, and joined a nonprofit.
I liked my job, I liked the organization, I liked my coworkers, and my work felt valued. I was happy.
Then, while planning my wedding, I began to have silly nuptial-themed
dreams. They were vivid and typical—until one night. I woke up having
dreamt that I was the author of a series of young adult novels based
on my experiences in middle school. I dreamt the concept for more
than three books and it all felt so real.
I immediately told Jordan who looked at me, tilted his head and said, “Don’t you remember that psychic?”
I hadn’t. Until then.
Me in front of the psychic's store.
A few years ago, when we were still living in Manhattan, we took
a vacation across New England. We stopped in Salem, Mass., home
of the witches, right after Halloween. I wanted to see a psychic
(when in Rome, right?). It was the first and only time I’ve ever
been to one. I was skeptical, so I sat down determined to be vague.
I told the psychic that I wanted to know about my career. The first
thing she said was, “You’re a writer.” A little surprised, and still
cautious, I told her I was a reporter who wrote about “business.”
The psychic confidently sat back in her chair and said, “No, no,
I don’t see that. You’re an author. You write books, little books,
like children’s books.”
I had completely forgotten the entire visit until Jordan reminded me. And I became convinced that it was “a sign.” I vowed to write the novels I dreamt of as soon as we returned from our honeymoon.
I finished my first novel in the spring of 2005. Knowing absolutely nothing about the publishing industry, I Googled “how to get your book published.” I learned that I needed to find a literary agent, so I went to the bookstore and bought a book on literary agents. The book included several chapters on how to navigate the process and I followed it step-by-step.
I started submitting my query letter in June 2005. Two weeks later, I got an agent
(seriously lucky, I know) and by July 2005, my book was on submission.
To date, that book has yet to sell. However, I went on to sell Amor
and Summer Secrets to Kensington Publishing for a three-book
Me and Jordan
I quit my job at the nonprofit in April 2007 and became a
full-time writer. In April 2011, I added another challenge to my
resume—I became a working mom when I gave birth to my daughter,
Juliet. Now, I balance writing and motherhood, confident that I
have finally figured out “what I am supposed to be doing” with my